Court Discusses Recusal of Judges in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

In medical malpractice cases, as in all other matters, it is vital that the plaintiff receive a fair trial before an impartial judge. Thus, a plaintiff who believes a judge harbors an implicit bias can file a motion seeking recusal. It is equally important that a plaintiff follow the proper procedure for pursuing claims of medical negligence, as the failure to do so can also impact the right to recover damages, as demonstrated in a recent opinion in which the plaintiff’s motion seeking recusal was ultimately denied due to the court’s lack of jurisdiction. If you were hurt by incompetent medical care, it is important to consult a seasoned Maryland medical malpractice attorney to determine what claims you may be able to pursue.

The Plaintiff’s Harm and Subsequent Filings

Allegedly, the defendants were the plaintiff’s primary care providers who had diagnosed the plaintiff with paranoia, which caused her to be detained and treated against her will. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit seeking damages for medical malpractice, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence. The plaintiff and each of the named defendants were residents of Maryland.

It is reported that the plaintiff filed a motion seeking recusal, arguing the judge was biased due to an adverse ruling in a prior bankruptcy matter. The court ultimately denied the plaintiff’s motion, however, due to the lack of subject matter jurisdiction over the case. The court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint.

Recusal of Judges in Medical Malpractice Cases

Pursuant to federal rules, recusal should be considered whenever a party files an adequate affidavit stating that the judge assigned to the case has a personal prejudice or bias, either against the party that filed the motion or in favor of another party to the case. The motion must be accompanied by a certification that the request was made in good faith.

Further, the federal code requires judges to recuse themselves in cases in which their impartiality might fairly come into question. The bias must come from some outside source and lead to an opinion on the merits of the matter based on something other than the facts the judge garnered from participating in the case.

In the subject case, the court noted that the plaintiff did not set forth any cognizable reason for seeking the recusal or the required certification that her motion was filed in good faith. Further, the court explained that it had an independent duty to determine whether it could validly exercise jurisdiction over a matter. As the parties lacked diversity, and the plaintiff did not set forth a federal question, the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Thus, the plaintiff’s case was dismissed.

Meet with a Trusted Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney

Plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases have the right to a fair trial and it is critical that their rights are protected. If you were hurt due to the medical negligence of a primary care physician you may be owed damages and should speak to an attorney regarding your options. The trusted Maryland malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can assess your harm and help you to seek any damages you may be owed. You can reach us at (410) 889-1850 or via our online form to schedule a meeting.

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